John Currie says he hasn't talked with Butch Jones about contract

John Currie says he hasn't talked with Butch Jones about contract

June 12th, 2017 by David Cobb in Sports - College

University of Tennessee Head Football Coach Butch Jones claps as he listens to speakers Tues., June 6, 2017, during the ground breaking ceremony at the site for the new Erlanger Children's Hospital on Third Street in Chattanooga, Tenn. Hundreds showed up in support of the new facility being built.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

MEMPHIS — Tennessee athletic director John Currie and fifth-year football coach Butch Jones do not have gaping holes in their calendars to schedule rounds of golf or family vacations together.

But the two have been intentional about getting acquainted during Currie's first couple of months on the job.

"A lot of times it's just me showing up in his office or him showing up in my office, just coming down at the end of the day," Currie said before Sunday night's Big Orange Caravan stop in Memphis.

Added Jones: "He's been very busy, just like us. But every free moment, we spend time together. We've gone out to dinner and had a lot of phone conversations and all that. I've really enjoyed that time."

A potential raise or contract extension for Jones has not been among the topics covered by the two, Currie said.

"We have not had any specific conversations about that," he said Sunday.

A report from "The Nation" co-host and Vol Network sideline reporter John Brice last month indicated Jones and his agent had interest in discussing a revamped deal. Jones makes $4.1 million annually since receiving a $500,000 raise after the 2015 regular season. His contract expires after the 2020 season.

Alabama's Nick Saban received a raise and contract extension through 2025 last month. Jones last received an extension after the 2014 regular season.

Currie indicated the program's focus is on Tennessee's 2017 campaign, which begins Sept. 4 against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

"We've had a lot of conversations about our program," Currie said. "But we're really focused on getting ready for the season, doing a great job in recruiting — as he is doing — and getting to know each other. I'm thrilled. I couldn't be more pleased with being able to work with Coach Jones. He cares so much."

Currie said that when he started the job, one of the things that impressed about Jones was the time he spends with his players after football hours are over. He recalled walking into the cafeteria and seeing Jones eating with his players.

"There's a lot of football coaches, at the end of the day when they haven't seen their kids and they got to the office at 6 or 7 a.m., they're ready to go home," Currie said.

"God bless Barb (Jones' wife) and their kids and their understanding of the job, because he is with our players at a different table every single night, sitting with a different group of players and making sure he's in tune with his student-athletes and spending time off the field and out of the film room with his players. I really appreciate that."

In front of a crowd of more than 900 fans at the caravan event, Tennessee's radio voice, Bob Kesling, asked Jones who his starting quarterback will be this season.

Jones didn't give any hints but instead praised the development of three quarterbacks, throwing freshman Will McBride into the mix with Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano, who are the favorites to replace Joshua Dobbs at the position.

Contact David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com.


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